Dating Magazine

Picking Priorities

By Polysingleish @PolySingleish

I am curious about the logic process going on in each individual as they decide how they spend their time, and with whom. There has to be some way, when two or more people want your attention, of deciding who you will spend your time with.

Here’s the thing: in any relationship between two people there are three dynamics. There’s me, there’s you, and there’s the relationship between us. That relationship has a life and character and dynamic of its own. As its co-creator, you and I become responsible for tuning in to what it needs, and figuring out how best to meet those needs.

This is a fundamental change of gears in how to think about relationship needs: it isn’t about meeting the needs of another person. You, alone, will never be enough to meet the total sum of any individual’s needs, perhaps not even your own.

What you can do is seek to meet the needs of the relationship. By default of having been one of its creators, you should be entirely capable of meeting those needs. And, should time comes when the needs of the relationship cannot be met, that’s when it is time to sit down and examine how the relationship has grown and transformed, and re-evaluate how it can change to suit the time, energy, and focus you and the other person are able to give it.

Within this, we have to also factor in the commitments we, as individuals, make, whether it is a “till death do us part”, or “I’ll pick the kids up from school every thursday” promise. Honoring commitments is one of the most important things we can do. That’s where we get to exercise our integrity, and where would the ethics be in ethical non-monogamy if we didn’t show integrity?

I think this holds true in any relationship- be it romantic, intimate, or friendship.

The following chart is a generalization, I am well aware of that. By no means is this intended to represent a full comprehensive view. I have chosen to look at the models of relationship that stand out for me as ones I have encountered most frequently. I use the terms partner, spouse, nesting partner, primary partner and secondary partner loosely, as I believe it is up to each individual in a relationship to decide how they wish to be identified. Consider this version 1.0. Your feedback is welcome, and greatly appreciated.


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